Paediatricians in Karnataka welcome Covaxin for children

No side-effects among trial subjects; jabs only after ministry nod 
A health worker displays empty vials of COVAXIN at a vaccination center. (Photo | AP)
A health worker displays empty vials of COVAXIN at a vaccination center. (Photo | AP)

BENGALURU: With the subject expert committee (SEC) approving Covaxin for emergency use on children aged 2 to 18, worried parents can now heave a sigh of relief.  Paediatricians in Karnataka believe that vaccination for children against Covid-19 is more necessary than ever, as schools have reopened. Primary schools are set to start post Dasara. 

“It’s a big relief for parents who are eagerly waiting to get children vaccinated against Covid-19. I will discuss with the Union Health Minister and senior officials about production and supply,” said Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar. However, experts say the nod from DCGI and central health ministry is awaited, only after which vaccines can be administered. 

Dr Ranjan Kumar Pejaver, paediatrician and president, Neonatal Forum, said, “Covaxin is an inactivated vaccine and preferable for children due to the safety factor, rather than a DNA vaccine where long-term safety is still to be proved, or even a viral vector vaccine, like say Covishield, which may have a component of reactive genecity.

There are chances of reactions like fever or bodyache immediately after the vaccine shot.” Dr Pradeep N, Principal Investigator and Associate Professor, Department of Paediatrics, MMCRI, who did trials on 90 children at the hospital in Mysuru, said, “Covaxin is similar to Diphtheria and Tetanus vaccines, which are given to children and have no side-effects. Our trials show that children are healthy after Covaxin.” 

Calling it a monumental day for parents and paediatricians, Dr Srikanta J T, Consultant -- Paediatric Interventional Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine, Aster CMI Hospital, said, “Covaxin has only been approved on emergency basis, but we also have an abundance of data on adult population, to show that Covaxin is not only safe and efficacious, it also has reasonable immunogenicity.” While most experts welcomed it, some believed that the amount of antigen in the vaccine for children may be less than the load of around 

How are the doses given?

Dose of 0.5ml to children (2-18 years), 1ml for adults. It is given intramuscular like other vaccines, and doses are to be given within 4 weeks (28 days after first dose).

Covaxin: Unlike Covaxin for adults and other vaccines available in multi-dose vials, the paediatric Covaxin will use a pre-filled syringe mechanism. 

Zydus Cadila: The three-dose needle-free vaccine ZyCov-D was approved in August for emergency use and can be administered to adults as well as adolescents aged 12 and above. The DNA-based vaccine, however, is not yet available in India.

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